Electric Flight in Australia


Mantaray by Ray Pike

Peter Pine
1/40 Kellehers Road
Pottsville Beach NSW 2489
Phone (02) 6676 1437
Mobile (0407) 732 440
E-mail: ppine@northnet.com.au 
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Mantaray by Ray Pike
Ray Pike started an aircraft trend when he purpose designed his Mantaray for the 7-cell electric glider event. You can see his original design in the accompanying photo. He employed traditional lightweight free flight construction, and even has a wooden fuselage, in his 1.95m design. With CP1700 cells it weighs in at 1.09kg. Ray fitted an Electronic Model ELIOS 42 brushless motor with Maxon 3.7:1 planetary gearbox. Ray is still flying this set-up. He pulls 75A on a 17x9” prop, although he tried zapped CP1700 cells and found about a 10% increase in current draw from the lower internal resistance cells. Ray’s standard motor run in still air with this set-up for a 5 minute flight (repeatedly tested at dusk) is 8 seconds.

Ray started winning all the 7-cell electric glider events (he’s a darned good flier, too) and so others have followed his lead. Brett Solanov made up a kit of the Mantaray with a lightweight fibreglass fuselage. He pylon mounted the wing so that he could have a single, large flap in the centre section as a landing aid (click here to see an example of the Solanov kit). Brett won 7-cell glider at the 2003 Nationals held in Albury with this aircraft.

Brett uses a Kontronic 42/60 for power with a Maxon 5.2:1 gearbox and a 15x10” prop. He uses the larger CP2400 cells so that he can draw large amps. In this Nationals event in January 2003 the Mantaray placed 1st, 2nd, 4th and 10th. It’s a very successful design.

Ray is working on a lighter fibreglass fuselage for his design, and plans to install an ELIOS 56 (hotter motor with a Kv of 5,600) with a Reisenauer 5:1 gearbox for even more go.
In the meantime, Ray continues to win competitions with this design and motor set-up. He won the AEFA postal competition in 2003, and is leading in the 2004 event. At a Canberra event in 2003, Ray achieved a five minute flight with this aircraft from only one second of motor run. Of course, he launched in to lift, and it took him a second to turn his motor off before riding the thermal to a great height and achieving the 5 minute task. He has now challenged other fliers to achieve this feat with 0 seconds motor run!